4/20/21 Surviving & Thriving
I had known the young woman sitting beside me at the radio program since she was a toddler. Now she was a wife & mom of 3 boys and lived in rural western Alaska. She and her husband were on deputation in the lower 48 states to visit their supporters and minister as the Lord opened doors of opportunity. They are a part of MARC (Mission Aviation Repair Center), and they graciously agreed to join us recently on the radio. We interviewed them so our listeners could hear about their testimonies as well as the ministry of MARC and their function within that organization.
Joel is a gentle, soft-spoken, native Alaskan Eskimo and a PK (preacher’s kid). He grew up in one of the many rural villages that were accessible only by plane as Alaska has no road or rail system into the rural areas. As a kid, he always wanted to learn to fly and his dream came true when MARC trained him for his pilot’s license which landed him a secular job with a cargo transport company. MARC let him go after his training but prayed that he would someday return to join their team of pilots. During his time of flying for the cargo company, he gained knowledge of the many village air strips and met numerous local people in the various villages to whom he made vital deliveries. Little did he know at the time but all of this knowledge and the contacts he made would be a part of God preparing him to eventually join MARC to carry missionaries, campers & supplies all over Alaska with open doors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sarah is equally gentle and soft-spoken but is a native Oregonian. She was also raised in a Christian home but one which had some fairly extreme challenges as her mom was mentally ill, and two of her three siblings were physically and mentally disabled. She shared how her church family and youth group came alongside her with love and encouragement which helped her survive when she said she would cry out to the Lord that she just couldn’t go on – not in a suicidal sense but with absolute weariness and despair. Looking back, she sees how the Lord, as only He could, has used all this for good in her life and for His glory in preparation for the ministry He had for her in Alaska - a ministry of offering compassion and hope in the midst of hopelessness and despair.
Sarah’s introduction to Alaska was in the form of 3 youth group summer mission trips where God birthed in her the desire to one day return. After obtaining her teaching degree, she did return to Alaska, eventually met Joel and the rest, as they say, is history! Sarah & Joel have seen God’s hand of provision both individually and corporately. They are very relationship focused and seize opportunities to share God’s love and minister His hope where hope is so desperately needed. In fact, Joel said he most enjoys the chance to interact with people; he thoroughly enjoys flying but it’s the people that he loves, and flying is the means to that end of taking God’s love, hope, grace and forgiveness to the ends of rural Alaska.
I asked Sarah if she had a favorite or life scripture verse: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13. I also have this verse underlined in my Bible and have known the body of Christ to uphold me/us and have seen the Lord’s goodness, grace, mercy and provision.
Maybe you find yourself in a desolate place today and can't see a way through it but I want to encourage you to press into the Lord, trust Him, take Him at His Word, rejoice in His goodness and thrive where you are. He promises to never leave us or forsake us but we must draw near to Him to know the goodness of His nearness. 💗
If you would like to know more about MARC and/or make a donation to support Joel & Sarah Oyoumick, go to https://www.marcalaska.org/oyoumick-family